We’d like to give a shout out to our customers at Ginkgo Bioworks for the launch of their lab, Bioworks2. According to an article by Eliza Strickland in IEEE Spectrum, “with the help of some nifty robotic equipment” – including our Echo Liquid Handlers – “Ginkgo has created a factory for churning out exotic lifeforms, the likes of which have never before been seen on this planet.”
The automated synthetic biology lab specializes in making microbes that go into products such as perfumes, beverages, pesticides, and laundry detergent. And because “biology is messy… Ginkgo takes an engineering approach to biology, hewing to a rigorous design-build-test cycle. In this case, they’re designing, building, and testing living organisms,” writes Strickland.
According to Patrick Boyle, Ginkgo’s head of organism design, the new lab’s extreme automation is critical to this approach.
Ginkgo outsources the production of DNA constructs, and its orders represent half the world’s current market for synthetic DNA, according to the article. “When a batch of manufactured DNA arrives at Ginkgo, liquid-handling robots add the various snippets to yeast cells and let the cells grow and multiply.”
Gingko Creative Director Christina Agapakis says that when she was getting her Ph.D. she spent a lot of time moving tiny amounts of fluid around, and “when we started Ginkgo, a lot of the robots looked like eight-armed grad students—there were a lot of pipettes.”
Today they are using tip-less equipment like Labcyte’s Echo 525 to move nanoliters of liquid using acoustic energy as part of a high-tech assembly line for custom-made organisms. Read more about Bioworks2 in the article, including the lab’s own beer made from brewer’s yeast spiked with orange tree genes to make it “citrusy” and “delicious.” Cheers!